Just this last week there has been a great deal of chatter around the wordpress blogs regarding a story posted by Mr. Daniel Florien titled “How to Stump Anti-Abortionists with one Question” Over 950 comments on the original post and dozens and dozens of follow up posts on other blogs. At first I didn’t want to get involved, as most of the people I write this for probably won’t even have noticed any of the discussion going on. But sometimes God has other plans. Over the past five days since I read that first post, I have been faced with the discussion of Abortion again and again, seemingly at every turn. It may have taken me a while to clue in, but I think I got the point finally.
So here, then are some thoughts I have on the issue of Pro-Life versus Pro-Choice, in two parts. In this first part I will answer the question to stump anti-abortionists (and others like it). In the second I will give you a very near and dear personal story and ask a question of my own.
The question laid before those opposed to abortion was this:
If abortion was illegal, what should be done with the women who have illegal abortions?
Now watch their faces as the cognitive dissonance sets in. They believe abortion to be murder. Murder deserves severe punishment. Thus, women who have illegal abortions should receive severe punishment — like life in prison or the death penalty. That’s the logical conclusion.
But they can’t accept this conclusion. They know it’s absurd and unfair — which means they know abortion is not really murder.
Following this is a video of some poor protesters being hit with this question they are simply unprepared for. I feel sorry for them, but I do not blame them for their trouble in answering because it (like most arguments against pro-lifers) is not really a fair question. It paints them into a corner that isn’t really there. Here’s what I mean.
First the question throws the pro-lifer off balance because it accuses them of wanting to ‘unfairly’ (and yes this is implied in the question) take the life of someone else. In essence it is presented in such a way as to say “Oh yeah? You’re no better yourself … maybe even worse … you killer!”
Secondly, it is an unfair question because it begs the question. What I mean is that it begins with an asssumption of truth that is at the heart of the debate between pro-life and pro-choice. It begins with the assumption that the fetus in question isn’t really alive, or at least not really human. How can I say this? Consider the question with just a little change in wording and you will see what I mean …
What if terminating the life of a toddler was illegal? What should be done with the women who have done it? Not such a morally hard question anymore is it? What about terminating the life of a teenager, fireman, senator, housewife, pro-choice advocate, retiree? No morally grey area there either. The question in question therefore is only morally ambiguous IF what a pregnant woman carries in her womb is not really a human being.
And this is the question at the heart of the debate. Not whether it is a right of choice. Not how, when, or if abortionists should be punished or not. But whether this unborn life is human or not. This, is the real question to be asked and answered. This is the one question that the pro-abortion side is forever trying to dodge, or re-write, or simply ignore, because they know that to truly, honestly, answer this question will re-write the whole debate.
For more insight into how to respond to abortionists and pro-choice advocates I highly recommend you go to Issues Etc and listen to the series “Five Bad ways to Argue about Abortion” with Scott Klusendorf
Here is just one of the five part series: